1970’s Atlas Comics Line Being Revived
Atlas Comics, the 1970s upstart designed to rival Marvel Comics, is being revived in time for New York Comic-Con next month. In a Deadline Hollywood exclusive, Jason Goodman, grandson of Marvel founder Martin Goodman, revealed that the line is poised to be revived beginning with Phoenix and Grim Ghost.
Handling the creative will be Ardden Entertainment’s Brendan Deenan, working with J.M. DeMatteis as editor-in-chief. Together, the pair previously produced a well-received adaptation of Flash Gordon and Casper the Friendly Ghost. No creative assignments were announced in the story but will be unveiled at the convention where both Atlas and Ardden will have table space.
“Although my grandfather eventually sold Marvel, he insisted on keeping Atlas Comics in the family,” Jason Goodman told Deadline. “As a result of his vision, Atlas Comics is the largest individually-held library of comic book heroes and villains on the planet. We have 28 titles and hundreds of characters imagined by some of the greatest minds in the industry.”
In 1972, Goodman sold Marvel Comics and by June 1974 decided he wanted to keep his hand in and created Atlas, a name once used by the company. His son, Chip, was its publisher, a role Martin intended Chip to have at Marvel, but one denied him by the new owners. It was always speculated Martin founded Atlas to beat Marvel in revenge.
Martin Goodman hired former Warren editor Jeff Rovin and Larry Leiber, a relative and brother to Stan Lee, to run the color comics and black and white magazines respectively. Both men always felt they were given the wrong jobs.
The line aggressively launched after luring many of the biggest names working in comics to produce covers or stories. Atlas paid top rates and offered creator participation, making them a more attractive outlet than either DC Comics or Marvel.
However, no sooner did titles launch than they were ordered retooled to more closely resemble Marvels’ heroic universe. An example was Howard Chaykin’s pulp-inspired The Scorpion, but after two issues he quit when orders to update it came down. He took his unfinished work to Marvel, reworking it into Dominic Fortune.
The line lasted long enough to publish approximately 60 color comics and nine black and white magazines.